In the current economic climate, buyers across multiple industries have become much more cautious when it comes to making commitments. This means that now, more than ever before, closing is vital to your success. To smash your sales targets, you’re going to need an array of closing techniques at your disposal.
In this article we are going to teach you the 7 Killer Closing Techniques, which can be used to close sales in any situation.
The 7 Killer Closing Techniques will help you to:
- Alleviate buyer concerns.
- Speed up the sales process.
- Increase sales.
Closing more sales: the basics
When it comes to selling in a business to business environment, a close is a commitment from a buyer to a sales person to either agree to sign a contract or formally move to the next stage of the sales process.
To close more sales, it is therefore crucial that you gain some form of a commitment from the buyer. But, remember, closing techniques are useful at every stage of the sales process and not just when the contract is finally signed.
As a sales person, your objective should always be to get the buyer to commit to moving to the next stage of the deal – whether it be at the beginning or at the end of the sales process.
Asking the right questions
To get the buyer to commit to moving to the next stage of the deal and, ultimately, signing the contract as quickly as possible, you need to ask the right questions.
To ask the right questions, you need to begin sales conversations by asking open questions.
Open questions are questions that cannot be responded to with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. They are great because they encourage the buyer to open up about their world and provide you with information that can be used to your own advantage when going for the close. They can be used to:
- Show an awareness of the prospect’s world and their most pressing needs.
- Establish whether their needs are a high priority.
- Ensure that the prospect is not working with a competitor.
- Clarify that your proposition satisfies the prospect’s needs and timescales.
- Establish that you are better than the competition.
- Ensure that the prospect will take the necessary actions to move the sale ahead.
Make sure that your conversation starts off with open (or semi-open) closes and funnel towards closed questions towards the end of each stage of the sales process. Once this is achieved, you are ready to apply one (or more) of the 7 Killer Closing Techniques…
The 7 Killer Closing Techniques
Depending on your situation, the following 7 Killer Closing Techniques will help you to press your buyers towards a clear commitment to signing the contract or moving to the next stage of the sales process.
The Trial Close
The trial close is the most commonly used sales technique by sales people. It enables you to test the buyer’s intent at every stage of the sales process to ensure that you are on the right track to gaining their commitment.
The trial close is great for checking if you are meeting the buyer’s critical needs and, in turn, if they are willing to commit their resources to taking the sale forward. It can also be used to ensure that the buyer has no objections that might hinder the sale.
Here are some examples of a trial close:
“If we could overcome this objection by lunchtime, would you be prepared to sign the contract today?”
“Does everything we have talked about today satisfy your needs and desires?”
“So, if we could satisfy that requirement, you would you be willing to commit your resources to making the deal go ahead by 31st December?”
The trial close is a great means of testing the water to ensure that you have captured the prospect’s interest. With this closing technique you should be looking for a “green light” from the prospect to enable you to move on to the next stage of the sale.
The Direct Close
The direct close should only be used when you’ve done all the groundwork and preparation for the sale and you are extremely confident that the prospect will respond positively. Here you should be certain that either your prospect has a burning desire for your solution or that your relationship is strong enough (on a personal level) to the extent that you are able to be direct with a forthright request.
Here are a couple of examples of a direct close:
“Can I ask you to sign the order today?”
“Now that everything is agreed, will you commit to signing the contract right now?”
Be cautious if you intend to apply a direct close. The prospect may view your confidence as misplaced and could quickly stereotype you as just another pushy sales person.
The Pressure Close
This closing technique is one of our favourites. The pressure close is great to apply if you have created a compelling event during your conversation that creates a great enough pressure on the prospect for them to realise that they have a need, or strategic desire, for your solution.
Examples of a pressure close:
“So that you can satisfy the regulatory requirements for sales call recordings, can we agree to sign the contract today to get back on track for meeting the solution’s deadline?”
“To cope with the turbulent economic conditions which are affecting your industry, can we agree to sign the contract today so that you do not experience external pain or internal pressures in the future?
The pressure close can be used in almost any situation. However, it is important to mix it up with some trial closes to ensure that you are in a position to apply pressure on the prospect. Our advice to less experienced salespeople is that, if you’re going to focus on a couple of closing techniques, practice and implement combinations of the trial and pressure closes.”
The Negotiated Close
This type of closing technique should be used to overcome what you think is an unreasonable objection or demand. This is a great closing technique to use with prospects who like to haggle for every last ounce of value and raise plenty of objections. It can also be used when you know that a prospect’s request is outside the scope of your proposal and/or capabilities.
Examples of a negotiated close:
“If you sign the contract this morning we can start work tomorrow to get back on track with the project. Can we agree on that?”
“If we can sign the contract today, we can start work on these concerns first thing tomorrow morning. Is that something you would be willing to commit to?”
These examples may seem evasive but can really work if you show enough enthusiasm to take the sale forward and convince your buyer that their concerns are merely hurdles which can be overcome.
The Alternative Close
An alternative close can be a powerful closing technique, particularly if you sense that the prospect is not satisfied with the solution alone that you intend to offer them.
Examples of an alternative close:
“Do you want the contract to contain the first or the second option when we sign today?”
“Which of these three solutions works best for you?”
“Shall we proceed to the next stage of the sale this week or next week?”
This can be a great closing technique since buyers typically like choices at the point of sale. The alternative close provides them with alternatives, which may be in the form of added-value or an entirely separate product that is shaped to meet their needs. But remember, prospects don’t like to be bamboozled by too many choices so make sure that you get the balance right.
The Assumptive Close
The assumptive close is a closing technique used by salespeople to act as though the prospect has already decided to go ahead with your solution or is ready to move to the next stage of the sales process.
Examples of an assumptive close:
“So when shall we deliver this solution to you by?”
“What will your competitors think when you implement the solution?
“I’ll send the contract out now for you to sign and get back to me today. Is that okay for you?”
This closing technique enables the mindset of the prospect to shift from their needs and desire for your solution to the benefits and advantages they will enjoy once they implement your solution. But beware, this kind of close should only be used once you’ve received a verbal agreement from your buyer and you’re just tying up the loose ends. Similarly to the direct close, you should be highly confident that you have satisfied the buyer’s needs and that they are ready to move to the next stage of the sale before applying this type of closing technique. Misusing the assumptive close can give the buyer the impression that you are overconfident and pushy.
The Rebound Close
A rebound close uses the opportunity of a buyer request (or even an objection) to force a commitment to get what you want and to move on to the next stage. It is a reactive closing technique and typically used by more experienced sales people, but can be highly effective if you know what you are doing and have researched the prospect well.
Example of a rebound close:
Buyer: “When can you get the engineers started on implementing the solution?”
Seller: “Well if you sign the contract this morning, I can schedule the engineers to start work tomorrow, in line with the project timescales…”
This example shows that salespeople can effectively react to a buyer request by hitting them with a compelling close to commitment that plays on the buyer’s initial statement. This can be highly effective in accelerating the sales process.
The 7 Killer Closing Techniques are tried and tested methods of closing that my company, Sterling Chase, teaches when delivering our sales training programmes to FTSE 100 clients and through our online sales training programme, Black Belt Selling. Feedback from senior management and sales leadership teams suggest that, by using the right combination of these closing techniques, their people have dramatically increase sales and enabled their people to smash their sales targets.
Interestingly, beyond selling, the 7 Killer Closing Techniques can actually be used persuasively to gain a commitment or a close from key people within your own organisation. The very same techniques can be used to develop your career and gain promotion or to be assigned to the types of deals that you favour the most.
Written by: Steve Eungblut, Managing Director of Sterling Chase